After a worldwide search, four fierce recording artists have been chosen to enter the competition of a lifetime on THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM, hosted by Fergie. These four recording artists, spanning all music genres, will fight to defend their coveted spots on the stage, as newcomers challenge them and try to knock them out of the competition. Each week, if any of the four are outperformed, they’ll go home and their challenger will take their place. The recording artist who is the last standing at the end of the competition will earn the ultimate prize: the panel of industry experts – Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainor – become key players on their team. Additionally, as part of the grand prize, the winner will be named an iHeartRadio “On The Verge” artist. One of the chosen four this season is Stephanie Zelaya from Guatemala City.
Born and raised in Guatemala City, Stephanie was surrounded by music from a young age. Her maternal grandfather instilled a love of singing in her and at 5-years-old she performed publicly for the first time. Stephanie’s parents fostered her talent for singing by sending her to prestigious summer music programs at Manhattan School of Music, Instituto Vocal de Miguel Manzo in Barcelona, and Berklee College of Music. A full-time performer, Stephanie has toured with prominent Latin singers like Enrique Iglesias, Alejandro Fernández, Alejandro Sanz, and Il Divo. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Guatemala City and after achieving great success in her home country, Stephanie is now ready to bring her Latin flair to the stage of THE FOUR and show the American audience what she can do.
EXTRA did a phone interview with Stephanie Zelaya:
EXTRA: Tell me about your journey in making it on THE FOUR? How hard or how easy it has been for you?
Stephanie Zelaya: I started long time ago as an independent artist. My grandfather kept me connected with music. I started training in Guatemala. When I wrote my first song I fell in love with writing. I recorded my music album and honestly I had great moments but also challenging moments, financially as well. This was a great opportunity to join the program. I auditioned from Skype, which was an adventure. I sent a video and they flew me to LA to audition live and told me that I was chosen as one of the four. I was super excited to represent as a Latina.
EXTRA: How do you feel as the only Latina chosen in Season 2?
Stephanie Zelaya: A lot of emotions – super happy, excited and blessed for representing my people. I am happy to represent and let people know about Latin music and see that energy on stage. I am definitely blessed and I will bring that energy and make everyone proud!
EXTRA: How do you plan to win? What is your strategy?
Stephanie Zelaya: I think definitely on the show you have to bring your very best from your performance, experience and self-confidence. As an independent artist I have prepared myself for this moment,. My whole attitude is singing, performing, and I am the whole package. I connect through people with music. Music is a universal language. My motto is always be yourself!
EXTRA: Where do you get your music inspirations from?
Stephanie Zelaya: It comes from life. I love life. I always try to write about life. I can inspire other people to inspire other people and to do what they are passionate about no matter how long it takes. I also get inspired from other music and movies. Never lose your dreams – dream big because dreams come true!
EXTRA:Who are some of your favourite musicians that you inspire to be like?
Stephanie Zelaya: When I was young I listened to Celine Dion. I love her essence. I really like her energy. I also love Coldplay. I like a lot of Latin artists – Shakira, Ricardo Arjona. I love Adel. I constantly listen to different artists but Latin pop is my music – I bring the elements I love from English pop with the Latin style.
EXTRA: What musical idols of yours would you like to meet?
Stephanie Zelaya: Chris from Coldplay, Celine Dion as she is an icon, Adele – she has a great personality and I would say Taylor Swift – she is a writer and has grown up so much with her music. It will be an honor meeting her.
EXTRA: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a musician?
Stephanie Zelaya: Strengths – I like my performance. I bring a lot of energy and I connect with people. I am a hard working girl. I dream big and I will do anything to make things happen. I am loyal to the people who have helped me through my career. I carry them in my heart. I speak Spanish and English and mix that in my songs. Vocally, I project a new unique style. Weakness – I am too much of a perfectionist on the things I do and I live in the moment. I am the worst critic on myself and that drains my energy.
EXTRA: What message would you like to send to all Latinos and your fans out there?
Stephanie Zelaya: I invite you to join me and follow me on all Social Media. I read all your comments and messages. Tell me all about you. Dream big! Watch me on the show on June 7. I can’t wait to perform for all of you! Tune in to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Check out Stephanie Zelaya on THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM Season Two, which premieres on Thursday, June 7 at 8/7c on FOX.